Dear God, a couple of days ago, I prayed to you about Gary Thomas’s book Sacred Marriage. This morning, while I was eating breakfast, I listed to a talk he gave seven or eight years ago (link above). I don’t mean for these prayer journals to become a sales pitch for Gary, but his stuff is really good.
The title of this prayer to you is NOT about my wife’s physical father who happens to live next door to me. No, it’s about you. At about the 29-minute mark of this talk, Thomas said something that really struck a chord with me. YOU are my Father-in-law because YOU are my wife’s father. Thomas said:
If there was a guy who came up to me and said, “Gary, I’m going to give you 10% of my income. I going to memorize your books. I’m going to tell others about you. I’m going to try to get everybody to by your book. But he’s abusing my daughter? He’s neglecting my daughter? I’m going to have one conversation with him and one thing only: ‘Hey, buddy, if you respect me, you take care of my little girl. I have nothing else to say to you.'”
Wow. Conviction. How am I doing? Unlike my earthly father-in-law, who is only next door, you see EVERYTHING I do. You see every inkling of disrespect I give her. You see every little thing I might want to hide from her such as something I want to purchase or even lust. You see any shortness of temper I have. You see how I talk about her to others when she is in the room and when she’s not.
How about my children. I suppose they are your children too. In a way, I am a step-father caring for them on your behalf. How am I doing with your children?
Expand it out. Everyone I meet today is your child. How am I treating your children? Some of them are young. Some are old. Some are wealthy. Some are poor. Some are struggling. All are your children. How will I treat your children today? Will I see them with your eyes and act accordingly?
Father, I am your child too. Thank you. I love you. And I’m really sorry for any failings I might have as a husband to your daughter, a parent to your children, a son to your children, a brother to your children, a friend to your children, and a fellow citizen to your children. Help me to be about loving you by loving all of them as you would have me to.
In Jesus’s name I pray,